Trying to Sell Your Home? Helpful Things to Prioritize!!

November 20th, 2009 mullinaxteam Posted in Real Estate Tips and Advice, Repost, Sellers Comments Off on Trying to Sell Your Home? Helpful Things to Prioritize!!

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Paying attention to how your home will appear to others will help you sell your home

If you are trying to sell a home in today’s market there are a few things to keep in mind that will help your home stand apart from the pack.  Prioritize and analyze what will fit in your budget and take the steps necessary to make your home show well and appeal to prospective buyers.

  • Fresh & Clean: Inspect your home inside and out. Does it need a fresh coat of paint? A new coat of paint will always be recouped in the sale of a home and is well worth the cost.  Does it look clean and spacious?  Pack up extra items that are not in use, the more clutter free the better it will show.  Just like an empty house shows better.
  • Curb appeal: Pay attention to your home as if you were a potential buyer.  Is it warm and inviting?  Clean?  Spruce up your landscaping, make sure that your lawn is green and well-kept, that your flower beds are weeded and mulched, and that the exterior of your house is clean and presentable.
  • Inspection: There will be a home inspection completed by the buyer after you receive the agreed upon contract. If its in your budget try to do one yourself.  Attend to as many items that could possibly hold up the sales process.
  • Best areas of a home to update and remodel? The Master Bathroom and Kitchen.  Don’t spend the money to redo your entire home but remodeling the master bath and kitchen areas of your home will make it more appealing and quickly catch a buyer’s eye.
  • Evaluate: Are the remodel/updates going to net you more than you are putting into them?  It is very important to pay attention to your local market and make the improvements that will help not hurt.  If you are not going to get the money back that you are intending to put into your home, don’t make changes.  Do only low-cost improvements and concentrate on making sure your home is kept neat and clean.

Check out YahooRealEstate.com for more information and helpful hints on ways to sell your home. If your interested in selling your home call Bonnie Mullinax at 770.606.0054 for a FREE market analysis.


Breaking Down the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

September 30th, 2009 mullinaxteam Posted in First-time home-buyer, Real Estate, Real Estate Tips and Advice, Realtor, Repost, Tax Credit Comments Off on Breaking Down the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

There is no doubt that the first time home buyer tax credit is a great thing but there are a few things to know before you assume that you qualify for the full $8,000.  The tax credit breaks down as follows:
Who qualifies? First time home buyers and people (or spouses) who have not owned a home for the previous 3 years.  You must purchase your home between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009.

  • What qualifies for the first time home buyer’s tax credit? Only a primary house qualifies.  It does not matter if it is a single family home, duplex, townhome, condo, apartment or co-op, if it is a primary residence it will apply.
  • What is the amount of the first time home buyer’s tax credit? $8,000 is the maximum amount of the credit.  There are 2 factors at play when it comes to getting the credit: The cost of the home and the income of the person or married couple purchasing the home.  The credit can be 10% of the closing price up to $8,000 or a person making $75,000 or less or a married couple making $150,000 or less are eligible for the full $8,000.
  • Do you qualify for the first time home buyer’s tax credit if your income is higher? Yes and no.  If you make more than the $75,000/$150,000 limit you get less of a credit.  The maximum income is $95,000 for singles or $170,000 for couples.  If you make more than the maximum income you are not eligible for the tax credit.

The tax credit is a real boost for first time home buyers and does not have to be repaid.  If you qualify for the tax credit and have been considering purchasing a new home there could not be a better time to call a lender.  Low interest rates, low home values and the first time home buyer tax credit all add up to the right time to call Bonnie Mullinax your experienced Bartow County Realtor.

Resource and for more information: Realtor.org or call The Mullinax Team at 770.606.0054.


If You Are Having Trouble Selling Your House, You May Be Interested To See What Other Sellers Are Doing To Sell Their Homes More Quickly

September 24th, 2009 mullinaxteam Posted in Real Estate Tips and Advice, Repost, Sellers Comments Off on If You Are Having Trouble Selling Your House, You May Be Interested To See What Other Sellers Are Doing To Sell Their Homes More Quickly

The Party's OverFrustrated homesellers have begun looking into more and more creative ways to sell their homes. Long gone are the days of simply baking a pie during a showing for the enticing aroma or setting out beautiful bouquets of fresh flowers to interest a buyer. Here’s what some are actually doing to sell their homes more quickly:

  • Throwing an Open House Party. The offerings at these shindigs are wine, catered food, live music and cash, prizes.
  • Consulting a Feng Shui home stager. Their homes are being rearranged to make potential buyers feel more welcome by following the ancient chinese philosophy to improve the home’s “chi”, or energy.
  • Helping buyers with the financing. Many are offering lease-to-own deals, owner financing, paying a portion of closing costs, or paying a point to lower the interest rate for the buyer.
  • Burying statues. People are swearing by the fact that shortly after burying a statue of the patron saint of family and household in their yards, they sold their homes.
  • Throwing in BIG extras to seal the deal. Gone are the days of generously offering a big-screen TV. Sellers are now offering cars, vacations, home upgrades, furniture stipends and even a year’s mortgage.

For more interesting ways to consider selling your home faster go to the Fun Times Guide.


What Exactly is an REO Property?

September 21st, 2009 mullinaxteam Posted in Real Estate Information, Real Estate Tips and Advice, Repost Comments Off on What Exactly is an REO Property?

REO property is often a bargain for the real estate investor

What is REO property?  REO (real estate owned) is property which has been taken back  by the lender.  REO properties typically sell for less than comparable real estate listings as the lender usually wants to recoup the value of the loan which is traditionally less than the valueof the property.  The differences between REO property and foreclosure or short sale property are:

  • REO has already been acquired by the lender typically after a failed foreclosure sale or foreclosure auction.
  • The REO is owned by the bank (or lending institution) and is listed as an asset on their balance sheet.
  • The original home owner is no longer in the picture and the property is for sale.

The downside of REO property is that an REO property is typically not well-maintained by the financial institution that owns it.  The positive side of an REO is that a real estate investor or buyer can often purchase the property at a distinctively lower price.

For more information on REO property click here or call The Mullinax Team at 770.606.0054


Learn How To Figure Out Exactly How Much Mortgage You Can Afford

September 19th, 2009 mullinaxteam Posted in First-time home-buyer, Real Estate Tips and Advice, Repost Comments Off on Learn How To Figure Out Exactly How Much Mortgage You Can Afford

Pink calculator close-upIf you are a first-time home buyer, before you even look at houses for sale, the most important thing you can do is figure out exactly how much you can afford on a mortgage payment per month. This will save you wasted time and the disappointment of looking at houses that you may later learn that you simply cannot afford. You first must figure out your debt-to-income ratio. Lenders prefer that you use 36% and under, but you might want to consider using 28% of your gross monthly income for housing expense. Following are the steps to figure out the math:

  1. Figure out all of your debt. Multiply your gross monthly income by .36 to find your total allowable monthly debt.
  2. Add up all of your fixed monthly expenses.
  3. Subtract your fixed monthly expenses from your total allowable monthly debt.

This number is the amount that you have for your mortgage payment, your home owner’s insurance and your property taxes. Any local lender or bank can also help you with this.

Let the Mullinax Team help you in purchasing the right home for you. For more help figuring out your total allowable monthly debt see a home affordability calculator or call Bonnie Mullinax at 770.606.0054 for more detailed information.


Time Is Running Out! First-Time Homebuyer $8,000 Tax Credit Expires 12/01/2009

August 21st, 2009 mullinaxteam Posted in First-time home-buyer, Real Estate Tips and Advice, Repost Comments Off on Time Is Running Out! First-Time Homebuyer $8,000 Tax Credit Expires 12/01/2009

American flagwater ripple and water drop falling in the middleIf you decide to purchase a home by December 1, 2009, you will be entitled to an $8,000 tax credit. This amendment to the economic stimulus bill will be available to if you purchase your first home between 1/1/2009 and 12/1/2009. Home buyers will be entitled to claim a total tax credit of $8,000 or 10% of the purchase price, whichever is less.  To avoid possible abuse of this credit, it is only allowed for your primary residence and will only have to be re-paid if said house is sold within two years of purchase. Keep in mind that you must close on or before December 1, 2009 to be eligible for the credit. Most closings take about sixty days, so with that in mind you must go under contract by October 2nd, 2009 – this gives you seventy-three days from today to find your first home. If you manage to meet these deadlines, all you have to do to claim your credit is fill out I.R.S. Form 5405.

For more information about this credit go to the IRS website or call Bonnie Mullinax at 770.606.0054.


Don’t Believe The Myths You Hear About Short Sales!!

August 11th, 2009 mullinaxteam Posted in Real Estate Tips and Advice, Repost, Short Sale Comments Off on Don’t Believe The Myths You Hear About Short Sales!!

Table & ChairsIf you currently are in a situation where you must sell your home and you owe more on your home than what it is worth to sell, a short sale can be a very good solution to your problem. Many myths have evolved over time, but understanding the reality is a way to help yourself. Seven short sale myths are:

  1. Short sales are impossible and never get approved. It is true that short sales are more difficult but they are not impossible. Bonnie Mullinax is a Certified Distressed Property Expert and has extensive training to help homeowners in distress.
  2. Banks Don’t Accept Short Sales. In reality, all banks are doing everything they can to avoid a foreclosure.
  3. You must be behind on your mortgage to negotiate a short sale. Many lenders today focus on verifiable hardship, monthly cash flow shortfall and insolvency – not just people in default.
  4. Buyers Avoid Short Sales. A lot of our local Bartow area agents report that buyers call them looking for short sales. Short sales are becoming synonymous with a “good deal”, specifically with investment or first time home buyers.
  5. Listing your home as a short sale is embarrassing. Recent estimates state that 1 out of 5 homeowners in the U.S. is in this situation. You are not alone!
  6. Banks prefer to foreclose. Banks DO NOT want to foreclose. Banks, investors and the federal government have all publicly stated that if a person qualifies for a short sale, then the deal needs to be considered.
  7. There is not enough time to negotiate a short sale before my foreclosure. Many lenders today will stall a foreclosure up to the final day of the process, with a legitimate contract.

For more information about short sales go to www.mullinaxteam.com or www.about.com website.

If your in this type of situtation, take a moment and call Bonnie Mullinax today at 770.386.0076 for more information.


Identity Theft Part I: Learn All Of The Ways That Thieves Can Steal Your Personal Information

July 17th, 2009 mullinaxteam Posted in Finances, Real Estate Tips and Advice, Repost Comments Off on Identity Theft Part I: Learn All Of The Ways That Thieves Can Steal Your Personal Information

PadlockIdentity theft has become a very serious problem in the United States. Thieves are not only stealing your personal information for themselves, but many simply sell it on the black market to another thief. They are using this personal information not only to obtain cash and credit cards, but high-cost electronics or medical procedures as well. There are a myriad of ways that thieves can steal your private information. Be aware of the following threats:

  • Phishing: This is an e-mail in your Inbox that claims to be from either your bank, Paypal or Ebay, or other online service. They then ask you to click on a link and enter your personal information. Phishing is the crime of attempting to acquire the username and passwords of bank accounts and credit cards.
  • Spoofing and Pharming: Thieves can actually redirect legitimate website traffic to an imposter site, where they will ask you to enter your personal information.
  • Spyware: It is very common for people to mistakenly download illicit software and find themselves accidentally clicking on a pop-up. This opens the door for thieves to steal your credit card numbers and passwords by accessing information on your hard drive.
  • Vishing: This is “voice phishing”, which is when a thief sends you a phone message asking you to key in your personal information.
  • Bank card skimming: Thieves actually add a fake ATM slot and camera to a legitimate cash machine so they can copy your account information. Servers at restaurants can also be armed with a portable card reader.
  • Thieves try to steal your wallet and can also go through your garbage for personal information. If at all possible, buy a shredder to destroy bank account information, social security number and credit card information.

If you are concerned that you are an Identity theft victim go to the Federal Trade Comission website for more information.


Closing Procedures 101

July 16th, 2009 mullinaxteam Posted in First-time home-buyer, Real Estate Tips and Advice, Repost Comments Off on Closing Procedures 101

Take it, it's yoursIf you are planning to become a first-time home buyer, the following information about what occurs during a closing will keep you in-the-know.

  • When you are ready to make an offer on a home, it is good to make an offer that is 10% less than the asking price. This will give you plenty of room to negotiate with the seller.
  • When you make a formal offer, you must pay 1% of the sale price as “earnest money”. This lets the seller know that you are serious about your offer. 
  • You will have contingencies, such as getting proof of proper financing and a good house inspection.
  •  You will hire a home inspector that will give the home a complete inspection, to catch any possible problems the home may have.
  • When your offer is accepted by the seller, a legal and binding contract is drawn which states sell price, details of buyer’s or seller’s obligations, and date of possession.
  • The required “settlement sheet” provides a list of all monies paid at closing, including commissions and escrow amounts.
  • There will be a mandatory title search, and title insurance and an application for homeowners insurance is required.
  • Various closing costs will be paid such as the appraisal fee, the credit report fee, your taxes and the document preparation fee, to name a few.
  • Utility service and mortgage payment transfers will be arranged.

For more information on the closing process visit Survival Guide To A Real Estate Closing


The Three Most Important Things Lenders look For When Qualifying A Short Sale

July 16th, 2009 mullinaxteam Posted in Real Estate Tips and Advice, Repost, Short Sale Comments Off on The Three Most Important Things Lenders look For When Qualifying A Short Sale

Take the key, it's yourThere is so much misinformation out there these days about Short Sales. While this transaction may be a somewhat complicated process, here are the three very uncomplicated things lenders are looking for to see if you qualify:

  1. Financial Hardship: This is defined as a verifiable reason that has or will cause you to miss a payment, such as a mortgage payment adjustment, a job loss, too much debt or a business failure.
  2. Monthly Shortfall: Lenders want to see that you cannot afford to pay your mortgage. You will be required to provide your agent a financial worksheet that demonstrates this. The shortfall equation is simple: Total Monthly Income – Total Monthly Expense = Monthly Shortfall.
  3. Insolvency: You must be able to prove to the lender that you owe more than you have in cash. Insolvency can be proven in many cases, even though you may still have some money for living expenses.

For more information about the Short sale process go to Homebuying.com.